Cannabis use in pregnancy has doubled among U.S. women and is most common during the first trimester, new government research shows.
Overall, 7 percent of pregnant women, or 1 in 14, said they used weed in the past month. That’s from a nationally representative health survey in 2016-17 and compares with a little over 3 percent in 2002-03.
Some studies have linked cannabis use during pregnancy with increased chances of premature birth and low birthweight. Animal studies have linked high doses early in pregnancy with fetal brain abnormalities, but whether typical use in humans poses similar risks is unknown, said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Because we don’t know exactly how harmful it is, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Marijuana use during pregnancy “is not worth the risk,
said Volkow, one of the authors of the government study.
The study was presented yesterday at a medical meeting and published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
First-trimester use jumped from almost 6 percent to 12 percent. Many women may have used weed before they learned they were pregnant or used it to ease morning sickness, although few women said a doctor had recommended it, Volkow said.
Among women who weren’t pregnant, the rate of cannabis use increased from almost 7 percent to nearly 12 percent or 1 in 8.
The results are based on health surveys involving nearly half a million U.S. women who were questioned during a period when rising numbers of states legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. It’s legal in 10 states for both uses but remains illegal federally.
The editorial warned against relying on imperfect data to make judgments about potential harms from cannabis use and said more rigorous research is needed. Volkow said U.S. government restrictions on marijuana research are “very much an issue” and have hampered efforts to answer fundamental questions about pot use.
We are aware that this is a very sensitive topic and you have to be careful what kind of information you trust. If you want to read an unbiased article about cannabis use during pregnancy, read our article we published some time ago.